New Orleans Saints: Losing Week 17 would have consequences
The New Orleans Saints have opted to not rest their starters in Week 17, and it’s a wise move given everything that’s at stake.
This season has been a huge success for the New Orleans Saints.
Sitting at 12-3, they’re somehow entering Week 17 with the No. 3 seed in the NFC playoffs. The third seed is 100% the worst-case scenario for New Orleans. Shockingly enough, there is a chance they finish third in the division with a 13-3 record.
That’s why Week 17 is important.
The Saints will be traveling to Carolina to take on the Panthers, a team they’ve already beaten once this season. To be fair, had the Panthers played the final minutes correctly, they would’ve escaped New Orleans with a victory.
They’ll get another shot at New Orleans though.
For New Orleans, losing this game solidifies that third seed. A victory could very well mean that they’ll get a first-round bye. Given the ESPN game probabilities, the Saints have above a 50% chance, given they win, to get a top-two seed.
They need either the San Francisco 49ers or the Seattle Seahawks to lose.
Assuming one will lose, the Saints would jump into a top-two seed yet the impact of seeing the bye plus a home matchup to kick off the playoffs would be ideal even without the top-overall seed.
Historically, it’s important that the Saints secure a top seed.
Not only does it prevent injuries in that first-round game, but it prevents a potential loss given that they’d be taking on a team as talented on the Minnesota Vikings who could finally put it all together in that Wild Card matchup.
Losing to the Panthers in Week 17 gives the team absolutely no shot at a second-round home matchup, it forces them to play another game, and it just hurts the rhythm of this potentially Super Bowl-bound team.
Head coach Sean Payton isn’t resting his starters because he knows just how important this game is for the team’s immediate future.